News

Jordan Middle School, other schools now up for renaming

Community petition spurs conversation about Palo Alto schools' namesakes

What began as one Jordan Middle School seventh-grader's research project on the questionable history of the school's namesake, David Starr Jordan, has now given way to a commitment to review not only that school's name but those of all schools in the Palo Alto school district.

The school board expressed support Tuesday night for the creation of a district committee that would take a closer look at the history of the people whose names the district's 17 schools bear.

The issue came to the board through Lars Johnsson, the father of the Jordan student, who started in November a petition to rename the school. Johnsson was shocked to read in his son's project last year that Jordan was an "early, lifelong" leader in the eugenics movement, an early 20th-century science that promoted the reproduction of genetic traits of particular races over others.

Johnsson's petition has since collected more than 300 signatures from individuals and also received official endorsements from several parent groups in the school district, including Parent Advocates for Student Success (PASS), which represents parents of minority students; the Palo Alto chapter of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC), which represents families of students with special needs; and the Palo Alto Council of PTAs (PTAC).

Christina Schmidt, chair of the Palo Alto CAC, wrote in a Nov. 20 letter of support that "any promotion of Mr. Jordan's philosophy represents a direct threat to all children born with disabilities and their families, and disfavored minority groups."

Johnsson's son, Kobi, now an eighth-grader at Jordan, told the board Tuesday that while Jordan may have had many admirable qualities and accomplishments — he was the founding president of Stanford University, a pacifist, known ichthyologist (studying the branch of biology dedicated to fish) and educator — his active and lifelong role in the eugenics movement makes him an unsuitable role model for a 21st-century public school.

Jordan penned one of the earliest books published in America on eugenics called, "The Blood of the Nation: A Study in the Decay of Races by the Survival of the Unfit;" chaired the eugenics section of the American Breeders Association, the first organization in the United States devoted entirely to eugenics; and promoted sterilization as a method of "race betterment," among other efforts that made it clear he was a leader rather than simply a participant in the eugenics movement, Johnsson told the board on Tuesday.

He also provided examples of Jordan's writing, in which he described Irish, Greek, South Italian and Polish people as "controlled by emotions, animal instincts, subliminal tendencies and the like, instead of brains and will" and Mexicans as "ignorant, superstitious, ill-nurtured, with little self-control and no conception of industry or thrift, lacking, indeed, most of our Anglo-Saxon virtues."

Kobi and other community members who spoke in support of renaming not only Jordan but two other schools named after eugenics proponents, Lewis Terman and Ellwood Cubberley, noted that they themselves would have been sterilized under this movement.

"I believe, bottom line, if we're going to put someone's name on a school, it has to be someone who believed in the value and the potential and the worth of every single student in this school district," said Nancy Krop, the parent of a student at Terman Middle School. "Being the parent of a middle schooler, I've been having discussions with him and his friends about this topic. (They say,) 'How can you say, on the one hand, you believe in my potential, but yet we know that the names on two schools thought I'm unfit?' Because my son and his friends all fall in that unfit category for various reasons, my son and each one of his friends would have been sterilized under both Mr. Jordan and Mr. Terman's beliefs."

Board President Heidi Emberling pointed out that another Palo Alto Unified school namesake, Juana Briones, would have also been considered an "undesirable" by eugenicists' standards.

"Names matter," Emberling added.

This is not the first time a renaming proposal has been presented to the board. In 2008, Suz Antink, a Palo Alto High School math teacher, sent the board and then-superintendent Kevin Skelly a detailed letter documenting research she had conducted on school namesakes, primarily Jordan, Terman and Cubberley. (This letter is included in the board packet for this week's meeting.) Antink requested that Jordan, Terman and possibly Cubberley Community Center be given new names to better reflect district values.

"In this place in time, the connections of these people's mixed reputations with our mission and our philosophy seems contradictory," Antink wrote. "I recognize that they were doing what they believed was best for society at the time; their detractors, who challenged their assumptions were in the minority of the power base at the time so that other perspectives created little competition with their views and the execution of their ideas.

"Still, I believe that our current struggle, to encourage and support students successfully reaching their ambitions is somewhat hampered by the legacy left by their national design and its implementation."

PASS co-chair Sara Woodham, also Johnsson's wife, told the board Tuesday that now that Jordan's questionable history is more publicly known, it is faced with making a decision that will send a critical message to its students and families, particularly those of color.

"The genie is out of the bottle," Woodham said. "We are about to send a message one way or the other and we're on the threshold of either sending a message that one, we are OK with elevating and in effect rehabilitating the stature of David Starr Jordan. We are either going to send that message or we are going to take seriously our mission statement that says we provide an environment for all our students to thrive, and we are valuing creating a model for our students that we want them to take forward in the global community."

Each board member was supportive of a citizen advisory committee charged with reviewing all school names in the district. Board member Camille Townsend said she hopes longtime community members will be sought out to participate.

Board Vice President Terry Godfrey emphasized that student voice should also be front and center in the committee's process. It could also serve as a potential vehicle for student projects and research, she noted, such as for Paly's Social Justice Pathway students.

The Jordan social studies department also expressed interest to the school's PTA in developing a lesson or unit in conjunction with the renaming proposal, Johnsson said.

"I think its our responsibility to set an example for our students," board member Melissa Baten Caswell said. "Sometimes we don't know pieces of information, but when we find it out, it's our responsibility to act accordingly."

Johnsson noted in an October presentation to the district's Minority Achievement and Talent Development committee that if Palo Alto Unified decided to move forward with a name change, it would not be alone.

In recent years, schools across the country have changed their names, including Nathan Bedford Forrest High in Florida, which became Westside High in 2014 after a petition that garnered more than 140,000 signatures opposing the name of a Confederate Army general and the first "Grand Wizard" of the Klu Klux Klan.

Palo Alto is also not the only district home to a school named after Jordan; there are also two high schools in Los Angeles and Long Beach and a middle school in Burbank.

The Stanford campus also has a Jordan Hall, which houses the Department of Psychology.

Under Palo Alto Unified board policy, a citizen advisory committee can be appointed to review name suggestions and submit recommendations for the board's consideration.

At the board's next meeting on Jan. 26, Superintendent Max McGee said he will bring a draft charge for this committee and, ideally, an application process for members.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct information from Lars Johnsson that his son wrote a book report on David Starr Jordan. It was a research project for which students were asked to research a passion of theirs and then present it in multiple genres.

Comments

55 people like this
Posted by Now This???
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 13, 2016 at 4:25 pm

Let's just name them school 1, school 2, school 3, etc... That way we won't ever have to revisit this issue again.
Personally, I would rather see the district attend to the Title 9 issues that are still a problem instead of stepping into this quagmire. This community searches out new issues so that they don't have to deal with old ones. Really disappointed.


88 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Is this the most pressing issue in our schools? No.

Is this going to be an expensive and time wasting effort? Yes.

I don't think naming a school or anything else after a person is a good idea, but there is so much baggage and expense changing the name, signs, stationery, etc. etc. And any person can eventually go out of favor e.g. Fr. Serra, Columbus, etc.

When all the problems in PAUSD have been sorted and there is nothing else to worry about, perhaps then there may be a time to examine this. In the meantime, please worry about the important issues such as stress, homework, bullying, traffic, school and class size, etc. etc. etc.


147 people like this
Posted by Just Wondering
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 13, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Why can't this be used as a learning opportunity for our kids? In general, no one is all good or all bad. Eugenics has been discredited just as the concept that the world is flat has been proved false. But, David Starr Jordan was president of Stanford University and he did contribute to this community; furthermore, many people have fond memories of attending Jordan. Why can't we use this as a way of discussing with students that people are capable of being smart, but believing things that turn out to be false. When I went to school, in the dark ages, I learned about eugenics. That it was a discredited and often racist view of human beings, but that there was a time in history when some people believed in it. Learning that did not turn me into someone who believed in eugenics, or believed that people with disabilities were less than people who did not have any disabilities. Are the current students in Palo Alto schools unable to grasp the concept that times change, people's ideas change, and that you can admire someone for some of their accomplishments while at the same time vehemently disagreeing with some of their beliefs?


16 people like this
Posted by Heart and Soul
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2016 at 4:43 pm

"I believe, bottom line, if we're going to put someone's name on a school, it has to be someone who believed in the value and the potential and the worth of every single student in this school district," said Nancy Krop, the parent of a student at Terman Middle School.

I think if that is the standard, we should put in place some checks and balances so that we begin with employing only people at 25 Churchill who believe in the value and worth of EVERY SINGLE student in the school district (not just the ones they like).

We probably should change the names. I hope it is more than for show. (Start small, then go for the soul?)


2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2016 at 5:09 pm

There maybe another reason why no school should be named after David Star Jordan.

Web Link


29 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 13, 2016 at 5:17 pm

Just Wondering,

That would involve being able to grasp nuance. These days, playing "gotcha" seems to be more the thing. Makes me think of that Salon article revealing the "dark side" of David Bowie--i.e. that he slept with a willing underage groupie in the 1970s--not exactly news to anyone who remembers that decade. The wrong thing someone did is always hundreds of times more important than the right things--kind of a reverse of what went on in the fifties.

Now that the board wants to put all the school names in play, there's ample opportunity to waste lots of time at board meetings and, of course, for the board to feel self-congratulatory while more serious and *current* issues--overcrowding, OCR complaints, student stress--continue to get short shrift.

But, heck, if all the school names are in play, maybe the board can put them up for corporate auction the way SF does with its athletic venues: Facebook Elementary, Google Middle School, Apple High. (Though, seriously, Seid has been, far and away, the best suggestion for Jordan.)




13 people like this
Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 13, 2016 at 5:40 pm

[Post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by pamom
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 13, 2016 at 6:38 pm

People are flawed, sometimes very much so, as some of the postings have pointed out. What about Michael Jackson, wasn't he a child molester? What about Pablo Picasso's similar indiscretions, and the list could go on.


7 people like this
Posted by VB
a resident of Southgate
on Jan 13, 2016 at 6:58 pm

There's also considerable evidence to suggest that David Starr Jordan was involved in the murder of Jane Stanford. Sounds like a horrid person, even if he once was president of Stanford.


15 people like this
Posted by For The Occasion...
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 13, 2016 at 7:13 pm

Curly, Larry, Moe, Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, Laurel, Hardy, Abbott, Costello, ...


29 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2016 at 7:28 pm

I think at least one Palo Alto school should be renamed NIMBY.

Just to reflect a significant swath of the residents.


3 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 13, 2016 at 7:50 pm

I think they should rename Jordan to Kazu Middle School.

@Reader wrote:

"I think at least one Palo Alto school should be renamed NIMBY."

Not in my backyard you don't. ;-)


20 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 13, 2016 at 7:54 pm


"Seriously, Don't these people have something better to do?"

Like fixing the sidewalks, many of which are in poor condition? Nah, renaming the schools is a lot more fun and entertaining. I think it likely a consultant or two will be required.


11 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 13, 2016 at 7:58 pm

Rename them, move on, try to think about what we are doing in the future so this doesn't happen again.

Don't name stuff after people unless they are truly great ... and there could be a reasonable discussion about what that constitutes since no one is perfect but not everyone is most well known for something like eugenics.

It's a good idea, I grew up here and went to Jordan when it was a Jr. High, but the rest of the world is changing, Palo Alto is practically unrecognizable from those days, so leave nostaligic sentimentality aside and just do the right thing.

Once we realize the cost of mistakes like this we will be less likely to make them in the future, but perhaps a plaque should be made to note the old school name and why it was changed.

Seriously ... we better really get used to change because it is going to be coming at us faster and harder with every year into the future, so we all better get used to exercising our "change muscles!"


Like this comment
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 13, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Kazu ... I'm fairly certain we will not be taking up any sidewalk fixers' time with working on renaming schools. ;-)


12 people like this
Posted by time and again
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 13, 2016 at 8:01 pm

"Don't name stuff after people"!

Says it all.


20 people like this
Posted by Pfft
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jan 13, 2016 at 8:20 pm

Can't we vote on this? Maybe the majority of parents/students don't even care and want to keep the name. [Portion removed.] Surely, there are no angels - of some of the names suggested, I could tell you their skeletons of infidelity and mental abuse.

If they rename, why not name them by location? North Palo Alto Middle School, South Palo Alto Middle School, West Palo Alto Middle School.


26 people like this
Posted by waste of time and money
a resident of Southgate
on Jan 13, 2016 at 8:22 pm

PLease!! don't we have bigger things to worry about. [Portion removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by Michael Jordan
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 13, 2016 at 8:32 pm

just tell them it's named after me- kids will love it- everyone's happy that way we don't have to waste money changing the name!!



14 people like this
Posted by How to make a list
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 13, 2016 at 8:33 pm

Here's a list of people not to name stuff after:

Nazis (seems obvious yet apparently needs to be said)
Nazi sympathizers
Racists
Confederal soldiers
Confederate loyalists
Terrorists (looking at you James Bedford Forrest)
Rapists (Thomas Jefferson...)
Slave Owners
Slave Traders
Slavery Apologists
Genocidal Maniacs (ahem, Andrew Jackson)
Indian killers (from Columbus to Custer)
Segregationists (Woodrow Wilson)
Torturers (George W. Bush)

There is a long list of people who have never been any of the above. Let's choose from that list. Simple.



3 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 13, 2016 at 8:37 pm

>> If they rename, why not name them by location? North Palo Alto Middle School, South Palo Alto Middle School, West Palo Alto Middle School.

Those can work for me, but a little long.

I thought Midtown Middle School was short sweet and alliterative,
or even Rinconada since it is a straight shot down the street from
the park and the Library.

I even mentioned Steve Jobs since he lived a few blocks away, but
people who hate Jobs want to focus on slave labor in China and
his lack or social skills, and I can't really deny that and am even in
sympathy with it, but to me it doesn't rise to the level of
eugenics for goodness sake.

Such a touchy subject. I really hate stuff being named after
companies, and then changed all the time as companies come
and go. Gotta wonder how they settled on Jordan to begin with.


11 people like this
Posted by who foots the bill
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 13, 2016 at 8:44 pm

hopefully the school board has the common sense to figure out how much this will cost before implementing this name change so they can make an informed decision. [Portion removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 13, 2016 at 11:12 pm

Plane Speaker,

Really? People have killed themselves because of the terrible conditions at the Chinese factories that make iPhones and that's somehow better than Jordan spouting off some eugenics nonsense without seeming to have done much more than spout? I asked about Jordan's involvement multiple times on these threads and the worst anybody came up with was his not accepting a black student until Jane Stanford insisted on it. And he had some opportunities.

But, hey, iPhones are cool, right?

(Sidenote: no we don't have compelling evidence that Jordan killed Jane Stanford. We have an interesting allegation that lacks proof of anything besides a possible cover-up. Real crime isn't television, kids.)

How to make a list:

So you don't want anything named after the founder of our country, George Washington? Should we make this retroactive and rename the state and our capitol city?

I'm with Pfft--let's put it up to a vote.


4 people like this
Posted by How to make a list
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 13, 2016 at 11:41 pm

Yes I think if this country was dealing seriously with the massive crime of slavery, it would reconsider all slave owners. That is one of the big points of Lin Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. I hope you get the chance to see it. Perhaps we can name somethings after A-Ham. He never owned a slave and was always anti-slavery, making it clear that cultural relativism is no excuse. People either had humanity and decency or they did not. Washington, as a slave owner, did not. He owned people and traded them like objects. He certainly should not have the Capitol named after him. HE OWNED PEOPLE. He was a horrible human being. Why would we venerate Washington and Jefferson, while reviling Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee? These people held the same beliefs and engaged in similar conduct as regards the slaves. They all suck. They are all slavers. Alexander Hamilton was not.

I would absolutely rename the Capitol. It is a black city named after a slaveholder.


10 people like this
Posted by Stanford Indian
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:34 am

Following this logic, we should give all the land back to the indigenous peoples.


6 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 14, 2016 at 2:27 am

How to Make a List,

You're basing your knowledge of history on a *musical*? Seriously?

Sheesh, I've been ranting for a while now just how badly history is (not) being taught these days--and here's more proof of it.

Washington wasn't a horrible person--like nearly every other person who's ever lived, he was a mixed bag. (I really have nothing positive to say about Stalin.)


4 people like this
Posted by How to make a list
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:28 am

The play is based on Ron Chernow's biography of Hamilton and I think it is quite alright to learn something from theater. Miranda was just awarded the MacArthur genius grant for his work and I think that you sound frankly very unlettered to say something criticizing the content of theater as if one cannot learn anything from art or culture.

Anyway the big point is about slavery and the moral corruption of everyone connected with it, not Hamilton -- which in fact is one of the greatest theater productions of our time.

If the full list is too hard to remember, the shorthand version is: no Nazis, no slavers, and no one who sympathized with the goals of either racist genocide or human bondage. That pretty much sums it up.

I know it leaves out most American "heros" but there are still a lot of people who are left to name a school after.


10 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:29 am

Yes, just go back to naming schools after their neighborhoods. So easy to do and certainly the least painful.

Remember that we had schools named after neighborhoods not that long ago...e.g., Crescent Park School.


5 people like this
Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:55 am

There still are schools named after neighborhoods of course - Barron, Fairmeadow, Palo Verde. There's always been a mix, pretty much everywhere.

I'm fine with naming schools after people, though. I tend to favor people with local associations (though personally I attended both George Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary schools), preferably from the past (naming schools after living people has always seems prideful to me). If future citizens decide they don't like the names we picked (or the people behind them), they are welcome to change them, just as we are.

At our house, we have started using a new moral benchmark for judging our actions, only half jokingly - if I do this, will it keep them from naming a middle school after me someday? It is actually an interesting perspective to keep in mind!


50 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:33 am

What it really comes down to is judging history, or historical people, with modern morality and ethics. We can't and shouldn't do it. Morality and ethics change over time and what was perfectly acceptable in the past would not be allowed today. For example, marriage was designed as an institution for the welfare of women and children and the carrying on of the family line and inheritance, love never came into it but was hoped for. Nowadays it is assumed that love always played the main role in choosing a mate, but that wasn't the case. Another example, war practices. In the past a battle was between two armies on a battlefield, nowadays it is anything but and the collateral damage to innocent populations is more prolific than to the armies themselves. What was acceptable in the past is no longer to be judged by what is acceptable today.

History has to be judged by the morality and ethics of the time and not by our 21st opinions.


5 people like this
Posted by get in em!!!!
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:12 am

Lets name Jordan: SAVAGE MIDDLE SCHOOL!!! No school plays harder in Girls or Boys Basketball than Jordan Middle School! Absolute Savages!!!!

Get in em!!!
Get on the Ground!!!
Take a charge!!!


6 people like this
Posted by Gunn Mum
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:17 am

Oh my goodness YYYEEESSSS! Let's get on this right away. First thing is to budget all the cost of renaming signage, uniforms, letterhead, websites for just in Palo Alto. Then of course we have to take our message further and budget the cost of every public structure, city or street in the US named after a flawed human being ie Washington.
As we cannot correct the behaviors of the past it may behoove us to concentrate more on the present than this focus point. The proposed budget of this would be better spent on making sure our present staff is treating all students equally as well as providing assistance to any in need to reach their full potential.


49 people like this
Posted by are you kidding me?
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:17 am

Absolute biggest waste of time and money I have seen. Are there not more important issues for our Board to be addressing?
Instead of teaching resiliency/antifragility we just change things we don't like. Great lesson Palo Alto


9 people like this
Posted by Trump supporter
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:20 am

TRUMP MIDDLE SCHOOL

A TRUE AMERICAN WARRIOR!!!


8 people like this
Posted by But What About
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:25 am

But what about all the Jordan Jaguar Student of the Month Self Esteem Stickers out in the community? How will this look to all those sixth grade students that already received their stickers? Won't this make them feel less than? Could this not scar them for life?


4 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:40 am

Plane Speaker nailed it, although he/she may not have intended it as such. Instead of naming the school after potentially flawed people, let's boost district revenues by offering school naming rights. Don't Google Junior High and Facebook Senior High sound great?


25 people like this
Posted by Former Old Palo Altan
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:43 am

[Portion removed.]

Jordan's views were shared by many, if not most, of America's leading scientists and government leaders, who declared eugenics to be accepted science. Moreover, eugenics was studied at America's most prestigious universities and scientific institutions:

Web Link

Web Link

In addition, Bill Bryson wrote about America's intellectual elite embrace of the pseudoscience of eugenics, in his bestseller "One Summer: America 1927." If you are honest with yourself, the eugenics movement of the 1920s and 1930s will remind you a lot of the "settled science" of climate change today.


16 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:55 am

Only on board with a name change if it doesn't cost us anything (which isn't possible unless some individual(s) find a way to fund out of their own pockets). So no, I don't support this effort. Spend PAUSD money on things that matter. My kids didn't know the history of the school namesakes and, now that they do, they find it unfortunate but that's it. This is a "nice to have" not a "need to have".


20 people like this
Posted by lost hope
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 14, 2016 at 11:44 am

Please don't waste time and money on this minor issue. But rather please focus on improving teaching quality -- the best way to overcome stress from a task is to become good at it, not to make the task easier. Anyway, America is facing global competition in this age.
Please let the teachers check and correct the homework for the students, or at least hire teaching aide to do it. In PAUSD, many teachers never check or correct students' homework. So students made grammar errors and algebraic errors without knowing them and didn't learn along the way. You know why PAUSD high-schoolers are so stressful? Because they are not well prepared in elementary and middle school by their teachers.


14 people like this
Posted by Midtown Guy
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Political correctness run amuk! Pusillanimous school board members getting in line to bow down to an Orwellian solution (remember 1984 and the purgation of any history that doesn't line up with the current orthodoxy?). Pull down those impure names! We must not pollute the uncritical minds of impressionable students; protect their sensibilities from the truth that we are all a case of mixed pickles!


12 people like this
Posted by It Never Ends
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:25 pm

It Never Ends is a registered user.

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.

The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

C.S. Lewis


4 people like this
Posted by Zoe Zimple
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Just name the schools for the streets they're on or the neighborhoods they're in.


6 people like this
Posted by Capitalist
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Why not sell naming rights annually to the highest corporate bidder? If it's good enough for the NFL it's good enough for the PAUSD.


21 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:56 pm

[Portion removed.] You shouldn't run away from history, even if it's reprehensible in some ways. The evils of the past can be a "teaching moment."


18 people like this
Posted by pamom
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:14 pm

Good grief -- some revisionist posters here want to do away with George Washington and anyone who does not meet today's standards of morality and equality. As other posters have pointed out, they were living in different times. Condemn the bad yes but understand the times they were living in when there was widespread acceptance of these bad practices. We have evolved.

And are mothers or fathers who seek certain genetic traits practicing a kind of eugenics? Seeking eggs from talented/bright/good looking/athletic Stanford students who get paid a premium for donating their eggs? Or going to a genius sperm bank?


6 people like this
Posted by old soul
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:27 pm

This is utterly ridiculous like all progressives they want to pick winners or losers I have an idea if you don't like our town or its names then move? as a 50 year resident its obvious the inmates are running the asylum this es exactly why you should be aware who is voted on your school board the liberals realized awhile ago that this is the starting place for them to force their values on the rest of us this is my alma mater don't erase it! this reminds me of the clock kid who got invited to the WH once this gets more national attention that will be next.


7 people like this
Posted by Yesh Ballon
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:31 pm

It was pretty simple where I grew up in West Hempstead, New York. We had the Chestnut Street School, the Eagle Avenue School, the Cornwall Avenue School, and one outlier -- the George Washington School. Of course we could never name a school after George Washington anymore because he had slaves. Since we only had one junior high school and one senior high school they were just both named after the town -- that was simple. Neighboring communities with more than one high school just added a directional suffix such as North or South.

This debate is going on all over college campuses right now. At Yale there is concern about Calhoun College now that people have become aware that John C. Calhoun not only supported slavery but was an ardent advocate for it. The problem comes when one realizes that even Elihu Yale was involved in slave trade, and the university is loathe to eliminate his name from the letterhead -- clearly a branding issue.

As social and political theories evolve today's heroes always stand a chance of being tomorrow's villains. Each instance is an opportunity for learning. The website Change.org points out, "Fifty years ago, the Voting Rights Movement marched through Selma and over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The marches across the bridge led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and today the bridge is a symbol of nonviolent victory for change!"

Perhaps our young scholar, Kobi, can take solace from knowing that he has shined a light on an important issue, contributed to all of our learning, even as we leave Jordan's name on the school as a continuing reminder.


9 people like this
Posted by Crazy Waste of Time
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Seriously? This is the best thing the PAUSD School Board can figure out to do with their valuable time? [Portion removed.]

Next we'll be pulling down statues in our nation's capitol of anyone deemed offensive to this generation. Goodbye to the Jefferson Memorial (he was a slave owner). Hello to schools named after the highest bidder (Google High School and Facebook High School, like AT&T Park in SF).


17 people like this
Posted by sounds perfect
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Given the residents of the city in question, a bunch of schools named after eugenecists sounds just about right on target.


7 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 2:15 pm

The consensus of the Senior Current Events Discussion Group to which I belong agreed to the suggestion made by "Capitalist." Just sell the naming rights to each school to the highest bidder. We could have Alka Seltzer Elementary School, Jack Daniels Middle School, Toyota High School, etc. Think of how much money the school district could accumulate.


8 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jan 14, 2016 at 2:36 pm

How about Naming it Chris Kyle Middle School or after those who fell at Bengahzi


10 people like this
Posted by Times Change
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2016 at 2:41 pm

Face of the matter is, you can dig up some dirt on almost everyone.

People who have previously been lauded--Washington, Jefferson, etc.--are later viewed as corrupt because times change. Someone mentioned Hamilton above; someone can mention Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Albert Einstein, Roosevelt. I can guarantee you that all of those men would be against gay marriage and transgender rights. Are we going to pitch a fit about that, too?

You can always point out the bad, of anyone. We have a school named after Nixon, and nobody seems particularly concerned about that. You name something after a person for the good they've done, regardless of their faults.

If we really want to keep things sane and pay a bunch of money to change the school names, then I agree--go by neighborhoods. Although it's probably a matter of time before Professorville is considered classist and has to be renamed, too...


4 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm

How to Make a List,

No, I'm not unlettered--the opposite, in fact. It's why the historical ignorance of the younger generation keeps kind of shocking me. Knowing about Alexander Hamilton (and Washington, Franklin, Adams and Jefferson) is just basic historical literacy in my book.

Have you ever looked at the book of a musical? They're slim because a whole has to get packed into two hours--song, dance. Not an ideal venue for historical analysis.

Washington inherited his first slaves when he was 11. He was the one slave-owning founding father who freed his slaves at his death and it was an issue on which his views evolved during his life. Slavery was his cultural norm--but because he was born into a culture where slave-owning was the norm and he didn't deviate from it enough he was "a horrible person" in your book no matter what else he did.

Given that slavery is something that has been present through pretty much all recorded history, guess that kind of limits us as a species. (And just in case anyone's unclear--the slave trade was multicultural--Arab and African slave traders sold their "goods" to Europeans and Americans (with the bulk of the later mid-Atlantic slave trade going to the sugar plantations--Brazil was pretty much a sinkhole--the mortality rates were huge.)

Judging historical figures is complex--just trying to sweep away the past is a cop-out.


2 people like this
Posted by Murph
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2016 at 2:56 pm

I agree with you whole heartedly, Times Change. One small note though - Nixon Elementary is named for Lucille Nixon, a poet, not the late President.


11 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 14, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Times Change,

It's not even hard to find the feet of clay with that group of heroes.

MLK Jr was a womanizer and a plagiarist. Roosevelt was a womanizer who allowed racist policies of various types throughout his administration. Einstein hid the existence of an illegitimate child. Cesar Chavez used cult techniques from Synanon and mass firings in an attempt to control dissent in the United Farmworkers' Union.

Oh, and let's not forget Hamilton--who had a notorious affair with a married woman and felt his honor was more important than sticking around for his wife and eight kids--infamously duelling with Aaron Burr.

Yep, you can always find something.


5 people like this
Posted by Be The Change
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 14, 2016 at 4:22 pm

I'm encouraged that this subject is on the table and open for discussion. Names matter. For example, there is a petition calling to rename the iconic bridge over which MLK lead the march from Selma to Montgomery. Its namesake, Edmund Pettus was the "grand dragon" of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. How's that for awful irony. I hope that the Palo Alto School District and our community will not be overly influenced by nostalgia or the cost of administering such a change. If anyone can afford it, it's Palo Alto. By the way, I was raised in Palo Alto and my child is a student at Jordan. No matter what the decision, I hope that it will be made in a timely manner.


4 people like this
Posted by
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 14, 2016 at 4:31 pm

It's a school. Give the kids some workout spelling its name.

How about we name it Honorificabilitudinitatibus Middle School ?


16 people like this
Posted by How to make a list
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 14, 2016 at 4:47 pm

[Portion removed.]

Your interpretive work is wrong and poor quality. For example, slavery had been abolished in the 17th century in many countries including Japan and as to the indigenous populations of the Americas. By 1706 it was abolished in England. Long before the American Revolution, abolition was spreading throughout Europe, and the trans-atlantic trade was under attack. Northern colonies were banning slavery right and left and in 1772, England freed every slave in her borders and banned removing any slave from England forcibly (that many people learned about from the film Belle in 2014) having to do with the Earl of Mansfield's decision in Somerset's Case.

It is false that Washington was "was born into a culture where slave-owning was the norm." In fact, slaveholding was NOT the norm and even in the south slaveholding was done by a minority. Washington was an educated man and spent much of his time in the north. He knew that England was abolishing slavery, knew that northerners despised it, and knew that he had a choice. But he wanted the money. Slaves constituted the bulk of the wealth of many people, including Washington, and they did not want to part with that wealth. He held humans in bondage even though he knew he had a choice because he wanted the money from his human property. Manumission cost the slaveholder a lot of money and most, including Washington, did not set their money free during their lifetimes.

[Portion removed.]

Here, let's try out your method of historical analysis on a more recent case.

Heinrich Himmler was a man of his times. He came of age in Germany at a time when anti-Jewish laws and discrimination were dominant in his culture. Everyone around him was involved in anti-Semitism, and many were involved in the Final Solution, which had the massive support not only of the German people but of nearly all the countries of Europe -- and even some support in the US, such as from such luminaries as David Starr Jordan. It would be unfair to judge Himmler, who after all was educated. He should be judged by the times and not by our modern standards. Furthermore, Himmler eventually "evolved" and even ordered that the Final Solution be ended and that the camps be closed and destroyed. Himmler himself had Jewish relatives and he even was willing to allow some Jews to emigrate so long as they could pay for the privilege (similarly to how Washington allowed some slaves to purchase their freedom and that of their family members). In sum, Himmler was a pretty good guy compared to others. He never personally forced anyone to dig their own grave and then shot them into it or gassed any children. For that reason, he should really have a school named after him. It's fine.


Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Name the schools based on location rather than after a person. Juana Briones Elementary School used to be named Monte Vista Elementary School...why the change? PAUSD has more important things to spend time on then the re-naming of schools and the cost associated with that process.

Wake up! The name of a school isn't important, what are you teaching the students? Yes, let's rename Jordan because the name of the school somehow directly impacts what you learn/how you learn and how much you learn....


9 people like this
Posted by stanhutchings
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 14, 2016 at 5:39 pm

stanhutchings is a registered user.

Here are my 2 cents:

Dear School Board,
You have much more important issues than the name or renaming of schools.
Please do NOT waste our tax money on this trivial issue. Yes, it may be important to some, and if PAUSD had more money than it could effectively use and volunteers to do the work, perhaps the effort and expense would be worth it. But that IS NOT the case.
Pursuing this line will cause me to become more active and vocal in School Board matters. You probably don't want that.
Regards,
Stan Hutchings, an upset taxpayer

cc: Editor at Palo Alto Weekly
Palo Alto Online
Palo Alto City Council

I invite others opposed to changing school names to contact the School Board, PA Weekly and City Council.


15 people like this
Posted by Barron Park dad
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 6:50 pm

That "Heinrich Himmler" example above is exactly on-point. And sharp.

The debate isn't whether we should leave David Starr Jordan's name on the middle school. After all, I don't hear anyone actually defending David Starr Jordan as an racist / eugenist. Rather, it is about the proper use of the District's time on this matter, and whether it will detract from more pressing educational matters.

Can't you do both? I would definitely change the name of Jordan -- after all, it's the right thing to do -- but let's make the decision quickly, and not allow this debate to drag on and on, wasting precious time and resources.

Pull it off like a Band-Aid. I bet you will find that changing signage and stationery, etc. doesn't actually cost that much.


11 people like this
Posted by It Never Ends
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:19 pm

It Never Ends is a registered user.

When the school district blows the budget on the renaming program it will declare a fiscal crisis. Next it will increase class sizes and send out preliminary pink slips to junior teachers.

At that point, it will increase the PIE (Partners in education) donation amount to $1,500 and ask for an increase in the parcel tax. Of course the whole time during that process they will be preaching to us that Palo Alto needs to lead the world and stumbling over themselves to claim the highest liberal bragging rights.

We have never seen this play before have we?


2 people like this
Posted by David Lieberman
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:31 pm

How to Make a List wrote:

"Heinrich Himmler was a man of his times. He came of age in Germany at a time when anti-Jewish laws and discrimination were dominant in his culture. Everyone around him was involved in anti-Semitism, and many were involved in the Final Solution, which had the massive support not only of the German people but of nearly all the countries of Europe -- and even some support in the US, such as from such luminaries as David Starr Jordan."

1. David Starr Jordan died in 1931, at which time Himmler was a crank hanging out in beer halls. Do you have any evidence that Himmler had ever heard of Jordan or that Jordan had ever heard of Himmler?

2. There is a big difference between Genocide and Eugenics. Do you have any evidence that Jordan advocated Genocide? The key tenets of Eugenics were the encouragement of the successful to have more children and the availability of contraception for the poor. Except for a few cranks they did not advocate forced contraception and certainly not genocide. In fact the availability of contraception for everyone has been a tenet of progressive thought for decades.


Posted by Mooch
a resident of Old Palo Alto

on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:07 pm


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4 people like this
Posted by How to make a list
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:07 pm

David I didn't say that Himmler knew Jordan. I said that anti-Semitism "had the massive support not only of the German people but of nearly all the countries of Europe -- and even some support in the US, such as from such luminaries as David Starr Jordan." That's a true statement. Read more carefully.

I wasn't comparing genocide to eugenics. However, I have no problem equating the ideology of American eugenics to the ideology of German eugenics and anti-Semitism. I was comparing genocide to American slavery. Actually I was making an even more subtle point, which is that the culturally relativistic arguments made by OPar defending 18th century American slaveholders could apply with equal ease and force to defend 20th century National Socialists in Europe. There is no limiting principle in that argument. Moreover, she is also factually wrong -- just as there were some Germans and Europeans who saved and defended Jewish citizens (Denmark, for example) there were Americans who fought for abolition. Cultural explanations that absolve evil (Jordan was a man of his times so it is OK to honor him today are indefensible. If they were defensible Germany would have a lot of Himmler Elementary Schools.


3 people like this
Posted by Who cares
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:22 pm

How about renaming Jordan, Mother Theresa Middle School? That ought to go over well.


4 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:38 pm

How about Jeremy Lin School, because he never got to actually go there (he went to JLS, which I call 'Wilbur')

Or changes JLS to Jeremy Lin School (JLS) and make Jordan Jane L Stanford or Wilbur.

We could probably recycle some mothballed gym shirts, they used to sell at Bergmans

Or keep it Jordan, for Stanley Jordan.
.


8 people like this
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:15 pm

I've lived her a long time and endured endless whacky issues and ideas, but this is the wackiest one yet. If these
far-out people don't like it here, please GO SOMEPLACE ELSE. ,,,,and take this Board and superintendent with you!!


2 people like this
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:15 pm

I've lived her a long time and endured endless whacky issues and ideas, but this is the wackiest one yet. If these
far-out people don't like it here, please GO SOMEPLACE ELSE. ,,,,and take this Board and superintendent with you!!


Like this comment
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:25 pm

Oh How to Make a List,

Where even to begin?

No, the Final Solution did not have widespread support throughout Europe--most people did not know what was happening. Certainly it didn't have David Starr Jordan's support as he'd been dead for more than 10 years.

The Final Solution was, well, final--it had been preceded by a couple of other "solutions"--the first being to send the Jews to Palestine. The Final Solution didn't start taking place until 1941-1942--when most European countries were either under Nazi/Soviet control or fighting them. The full extent of the Nazi death camps wasn't known until the Allied liberation.

"Norm" doesn't mean that most people did something, but that it was an accepted practice. (Japan's abolition of slavery is neither here nor there because Japan was in a period of heavy-duty isolation at that point--not influencing what was going on in the rest of the world.)

Slavery was the norm in much of the New World--and while slavery may have been illegal in Great Britain, the British owned plenty of slaves of overseas. Really, it was not dissimilar to today where we turn a blind eye to the near-slavery conditions of the overseas factories that make our clothes, phones, and other toys and the slave conditions that provide us our chocolate and fish.

Nazism and death camps were not the norm when Himmler was growing up--he helped create a worse world. Washington went in the opposite direction--didn't make it all the way there, but that was clearly his direction.

Have fun with your iPhone.


6 people like this
Posted by Commentator
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:30 pm

"Just name the schools for the streets they're on or the neighborhoods they're in."

Only after we rename our streets 1st, 2nd, ..., and A, B, etc. And that only after we thoroughly vet each number and letter. Can't be too careful with this, you know.

Neighborhoods are also problematic. For example, Crescent Park is a certain non-starter. When it was being platted and sold, CP advertised itself as "Palo Alto's most restricted neighborhood." Ahem.


4 people like this
Posted by How to make a list
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:31 pm

I'm sorry you are wrong as a matter of historical fact and I don't want to bother to correct you as it will take too long and it is just beside the point. There are a lot of books you can read on the subjects covered here, but if you insist on obtaining your historical information from Wikipedia you will continue to make mistakes and incorrect inferences based on those errors.

It hardly matters. This is a good decision and I agree with BPD that we just need to make it fast and cheap. I think it will be -- I think it will be a nice educational exercise, they will reach consensus on a few names, the board will pick one, we will move on.

That Jordan was a racist and he is not an appropriate honoree is something that all reasonable minds can agree upon.


2 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:01 pm

How to Make a List,

You've yet to point out any factual errors I've made. So, I don't think it's a matter of "it would take too long."

History does matter--when we talk about school names we're often talking about our history and who and what we want to commemorate and why.

You put up a list of requirements--and, when challenged, got out of your depth pretty quickly.

Seriously, you just tried to make George Washington morally equivalent to Heinrich Himmler. That was just a bad idea.


2 people like this
Posted by wally
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:22 pm

wally is a registered user.

"Your interpretive work is wrong and poor quality. For example, slavery had been abolished in the 17th century in many countries including Japan"

Sounds like someone forgot World War 2. Talk about "poor quality"


6 people like this
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:50 pm

"Have fun with your iPhone."

Laudable, but premature. The iPhone/Foxconn situation will some day be regarded as shameful as eugenics is today. But for now, by continuining to furnish huge profits for a reverenced industrial entity and glitzy toys for its acolytes, it is in perfect resonance with contemporary mores.

Jordan, by contrast, committed the unforgivable sin of having embraced an intellectual fad that is not only currently out of fashion, but never made much money for anybody. The banishment of his name and memory from the Valley of Sillyconn is therefore deserved and overdue.


2 people like this
Posted by Political Observer
a resident of Southgate
on Jan 14, 2016 at 11:12 pm

How could anyone who's watched Bill Cosby's hypersonic fall from national iconhood consider naming a school for anybody notable enough to have a school named for them?


2 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 15, 2016 at 1:22 am

Of course, the thing about place names is that places are frequently named after somebody. Just think what we'd be going through if we were in Columbus or Columbia?

We could always manage a place workaround--rename that stretch of California Ave. Jordan Way, say the street's named after the river and then--presto!--Jordan Middle School minus the baggage.


2 people like this
Posted by pares
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 15, 2016 at 8:40 am

@Roger -- Akin to Eugenics is to seek out better genes: such as, donors who are talented, brilliant, athletic, good looking, etc., egg or sperm donors. Will people be using more and more genetic selection in the future? I am not condoning this, but just pointing out that these practices are accepted today.


4 people like this
Posted by names
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 15, 2016 at 10:07 am

as has been pointed out above--you could say this about almost every school name out there-- nixon, washington, clinton (that's a fine example for youth), a whole host of presidents--past and present, even Stanford and building the railway. where would it end? we're sure you could find more names that some would object to, than you can find names that no one objects to. why is one's view of a name better than another's view of another name? censorship? only my view is the important one?


23 people like this
Posted by Why_Stop_There
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2016 at 10:11 am

Why_Stop_There is a registered user.

Why stop at the school names?

One could easily be offended by the city name of Palo Alto. The two trees were used as a primary navigational landmark for the colonialist and imperialist Portola expedition which led to the decimation and subjugation of local native american peoples.

Taken figuratively, they could also be perceived as a phallic symbol representing the violent attitudes of masculinity and misogyny towards women. In addition, it is also an appropriation of the Latino culture and serves as a constant reminder of the illegal war with Mexico in 1846 and the unjust power structure that remains to this day.

Based on a large rubric of grievances and an infinite timeline into the past, where does the audit of the offensive stop?


7 people like this
Posted by This family always complains
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jan 15, 2016 at 11:31 am

Is it definitely decided that they will change the names? They decided this without knowing the financial aspect?

300 signatures on a petition for a population of 66,000? What if 3000 residents DON'T want the names changed?

[Portion removed.]








8 people like this
Posted by hoya
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Here's my suggestion: keep it named Jordan Middle School but decouple the exalted association to the life of David Starr Jordan. Let it be relegated to a time when he was respected, but no longer. Everyone's legacy will be a mixed bag in the end, no one will be spotless of guilt, like ***STANFORD***. A robber baron who swiped public subsidies to hoard personal wealth and power.

The reach for power to influence others continues today. So many people who made the hard decisions/sacrifices for the common good are often not memorialized...or remembered. They were often marginalized, killed, or imprisoned because they went against the mindset people buy INTO when they align with power. So many by-standers are guilty - we like the favor of the rich and influential.

BTW, I have faith that the young are less corruptible than the past generations. I believe they will live and rule with more conviction and create more security, less disparity, and more justice.


6 people like this
Posted by Cathy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 15, 2016 at 1:31 pm

I agree with hoya. Just take away the 'David Starr' bit and problem solved. No need to change sweatshirts, sports items etc - and the 'Jordan' could then refer to a whole host of people - or no one at all, its just a name.


2 people like this
Posted by JU
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Perhaps someone should form a volunteer committee and raise funds to change the name. They can then conduct a survey/vote of whether to change the name and vote on any suggestions. Thereby saving tax payer dollars and school board time. Let's see how many people put their money where their mouth is.


2 people like this
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 15, 2016 at 1:48 pm

" Will people be using more and more genetic selection in the future? I am not condoning this, but just pointing out that these practices are accepted today."

Just don't call it eugenics.

Keep in mind that the technology of genetic selection will doubtless make many people very wealthy, so it will be enthusiastically embraced in the Valley.


5 people like this
Posted by Bad_Year_for_Role_Models
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Bad_Year_for_Role_Models is a registered user.

It has been a bad year for role models.

We found out David Starr Jordan was a Eugenist. Bill Cosby is an alleged rapist. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) was a racist and Jared Fogle (Subway guy) is a pedophile. I hate to even think what Snoopy might have done.

I really hope Hoya is right about current and future generations. But what if human nature will always be fallible and left unchecked there will be individuals that demonstrate our worst attributes?

It is a cliche but maybe freedom isn't free and it has to be earned everyday. Liberty, justice and equality require an active , open and informed populace or they dissipate and get diminished. Perhaps that is a good lesson for our students as well.

I am glad we have a caring and vigilant community because that may be our best hope after all.


8 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 15, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Board members and the superintendent seemed pretty impressed by Lars Johnsson's research and the arguments he made to support a name change. And several members of the community spoke directly to the board to add their reasons for backing a change. Were posters here even watching? They owe it to themselves to watch the archive of the meeting to sharpen their arguments. So far very little has been added on this thread reacting to the board's action that wasn't already in the earlier thread announcing that the board would discuss the subject.


1 person likes this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 15, 2016 at 4:04 pm

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2016 at 10:34 pm

The news about the Ohlone teacher plus the recent Paly teacher proves that there is no possible way whatsoever that a person vetted by PAUSD can be found completely free of any prior, present or future possible fault. No human is completely faultless and what may be perfectly acceptable today may not be acceptable in the future.

Stop naming things after people, we all have our faults, but the things already so named should remain to show that there is good and bad in everyone.


9 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 16, 2016 at 1:20 am

Jerry,

[Portion removed due to inaccurate attribution of comment.]

I notice that, by far, the most popular comment on this thread is Just Wondering's--and Just's question is a good one. Why aren't we making this a learning opportunity about how people can do good things while having wrong ideas about other things? Certainly, as parents, it's a lesson we should want our kids to learn.


Like this comment
Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 16, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Why not name the elementary schools after the respective wives of Henry VIII? If the number of students and schools increase over time, there would be plenty of name space left for expansion.

Another name that might be considered for the one school might be to name it after Charles Darwin.


19 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 16, 2016 at 2:41 pm

I have several names that I would vote keeping and shortening the name to just Jordan Middle School, and parents (because students don't care) who are so concerned with the name can choose among the following "Jordan"s:

Michael Jordan (Basketball player)
Barbara Jordan (Civil Rights Activist)
Pascual Jordan (Founder of Quantum Mechanics)
etc.


7 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 16, 2016 at 5:54 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Opar

Camille Townsend's reaction is her own, no information there about Lars Johnsson's thoughts or anyone else's who signed and circulated the petition. For that, you really should watch the video in the Midpeninsula Media Center PAUSD archives.

Have I mentioned that I approve of coeducational too? Or that I believe it was a good move not to identify Stanford with a denomination? Or that I appreciate peacemakers much more than warmongers? I haven't felt a reason to do so since those topics have nothing to do with the matter at hand, just as many of the supposed rebuttals raised here by name change opponents have nothing to do with it. I am disappointed by this unwillingness to directly address the concerns raised by the petitioners.


16 people like this
Posted by WasteOfTime
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 16, 2016 at 7:07 pm

There are many, many, many more pressing issues in front of the school board: e.g. developing a comprehensive plan for the anticipated growth in enrolled students, helping schools/teachers/students manage stress and workloads, etc.

Whichever student uncovered the historical issues with Mr. Jordan and brought them to public attention should be given an 'A' for his/her report.

Afterwards the teachers/administrators/parents involved should have told the student to move on. Kids and perhaps parents/administrators and school board should be taught that we in the United States benefit from a historical legacy that is not black and white. Since we've already passed Godwin's Law earlier in the comments, a useful example is Wernher von Braun, the greatest rocket scientist in history and man responsible for many of NASA's achievements is a former Nazi.

Judging Jordan by modern standards and undermining his valuable contributions at the time shows a lack of historical perspective. Finally, for PAUSD to even consider wasting resources over a name change that will do absolutely *no* material good for the district, students, or teachers is comically inept.

We elect the PAUSD board to filter, prioritize and focus on issues and problems relevant to the community. We depend on them to use their experience and wisdom to swat away irrelevant wastes of everyone's time.

To members of the board: move on.


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Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jan 16, 2016 at 7:15 pm

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 16, 2016 at 10:35 pm

Jerry,

I've addressed the concerns of the petitioners multiple times. I didn't and still don't have a strong attachment to Jordan's name being on the school, but the arguments in the petition don't sway me. I've explained why ad nauseam.

Camille Townsend's comment repulses me because it's yet another example of her tone-deafness--she loves the idea of PAUSD being this enclave of special, talent elite children--she supported academic zero period at Gunn even AFTER one of the students in it KILLED HIMSELF. So, no surprise she'd compare a kid with a book report to a teen who won a Nobel prize after being shot in the head for wanting to go to school.

I'm a parent in this district and I've had years of watching this board fritter away meetings on minor issues while major ones go unaddressed--Townsend's self-congratulatory solipsism is something to which I try to limit my exposure.

My point about Jordan is that he supported and worked for the things (secular coeducation) that would make education for a Malala possible--so it's ironic for Townsend to praise someone as being like Malala given that he is working to erase Jordan's presence from the district.

Just Wondering's post has 115 likes--just a post in a thread--I suspect that if it were put to a vote, the majority of Palo Alto voters would prefer that solution to yet-another-committee. In fact, I bet there'd be no problem getting *more* than 300 signatures on a petition that supported education instead of renaming our schools.


6 people like this
Posted by Marc Vincenti
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 17, 2016 at 3:41 am

Dear Onliners,

For those who feel that the deaths (and 50 hospitalizations) of our Palo Alto teenagers last year constitute a more pressing problem than changing the names of our schools, please visit the website for Save the 2,008, the Palo Alto grassroots coalition to create hope for our high-schoolers.

Please join our 424 members who are asking the School Board and Superintendent for six simple adjustments to the way our schools are run.

Did you know that, because of homework, APs, etc., the average Palo Alto teen loses two and a half hours of sleep per night, which means 630 lost hours of sleep per academic year?

So, how many full, nine-hour nights of sleep does a teenager in this city lose during one school year?

Seventy. That's a terrifying number. I checked my math four times.

We can easily change this. Visit www.savethe2008.com This is a grassroots campaign, open to all!

Best wishes,
Marc Vincenti
savethe2008@gmail.com
facebook.com/savethe2008


5 people like this
Posted by outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 17, 2016 at 7:54 am

If the community can get this school district to budge on this one little thing, perhaps they will be able to on some bigger ones. Start small and then go big. The elephant in the room has been sitting there too long and someone needs to get rid of it.

This district does not listen to, know or respond to its community. It is an abnormal relationship that has failed. For some reason the board just hangs on to any trend instead of responding, they are posturing and hiring lawyers.

I think presenting it as a fun activity, of course tell the kids why names are being changed, have the kids write a paper and present their name choices. do not allow people's names. Let the kids vote on a name and be done with it.

Parents should be discussing why they are totally helpless and disrespected in this district when their kids are all so awesome. I still do not know why parents are putting up with this.


10 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2016 at 8:50 am

Instead of perpetually asking for more bond money, why doesn't PAUSD sell the naming rights for fixed period of time? So Jordan could become "the Smoothie King" Middle School in Palo Alto or something. PAUSD could then spend the income on more lawyers and PR people.


4 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 17, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@WasteOfTime
"Afterwards the teachers/administrators/parents involved should have told the student to move on."

This would be one of the people who stood in front of school board and tv camera to allege that they would have been sterilized under this movement. Would you tell a student who spoke to the board with this complaint to just move on if you were a teacher, administrator or parent in a face to face interaction with him/her?

Fortunately, it seems quite likely that Jordan's name will be dropped from the school. That's good. It's a burden on the district.


12 people like this
Posted by WasteOfTime
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 17, 2016 at 4:43 pm

@Jerry

If Jordan's name is a burden, then the other issues listed in the comments above must be insurmountable mountains. Our under slept, highly stressed students, crowded school buildings, are all issues that must be impossible to solve?

The historical legacy of Palo Alto, like of California and the United States is complex, with some dark corners.

For example, consider this: Web Link "As more blacks attempted to move into the city and black residents tried to move out of its ghetto, they met widespread resistance. For instance, the majority of subdivisions established in the city between 1925 and 1950 included the following clause: “No person not wholly of the white Caucasian race shall use or occupy such property unless such person or persons are employed as servants of the occupants…” Other covenants were more informal. When black trucker William Bailey and his family of six moved into the Palo Alto Gardens complex in then mostly white East Palo Alto, residents actually tried raising funds to buy out Bailey to keep it segregated. Hundreds of other such stories never made it to the local press, and most blacks did not even attempt to move across the area’s well-known color lines."

Perhaps we should rename Palo Alto? After all, by denying people from buying property in Palo Alto in the past, the citizens of this fine city effectively stole future property appreciation from the outcasts.

Is the name Palo Alto a burden?


8 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 17, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@WasteOfTime

Is that what you'd tell a kid who believed that a school icon would have had him sterilized, judging by Jordna's very public utterances, pseudo-scientific research and organizational activities? I don't think the encounter would come off very well and you would, of course, be accountable for what you told the student in your helping role.

This is a trivial, even joking, matter for many posters. Not so for kids and parents who understand the implications of what Jordan insistently advocated.


4 people like this
Posted by Commentator
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 17, 2016 at 5:36 pm

"If Jordan's name is a burden, then the other issues listed in the comments above must be insurmountable mountains."

It is much easier to scapegoat a long-dead individual who espoused a philosophy that was fashionable in his day but not at the present, and who has nobody to defend him, than to face a collective guilt that abides with the many to this day.

Jordan is toast.


2 people like this
Posted by 2cents
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2016 at 6:32 pm

Waste of Time does have a point. Consider this from Wikipedia on Eugenics:

"In the decades following World War II, with the institution of human rights, many countries gradually abandoned eugenics policies, although some Western countries, among them Sweden and the US, continued to carry out forced sterilizations for several decades."

Despicable, yes, but do we need to change the name of the U.S.?


2 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2016 at 9:05 pm

@WasteOfTime:

"Is the name Palo Alto a burden?"

Maybe, maybe not. There does not appear to be a significant suicide issue with Palo Alto parochial school kids. It appears to only affect PAUSD kids. And there is also little threat to kids in other Peninsula cities outside of Palo Alto.

That leads me to conclude that there is something utterly lethal with the public school environment in Palo Alto, presumably an issue with the adults who are involved in that school district: administrators, staff, teachers, and parents. That also includes the board. [Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Parochial Fairness
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 17, 2016 at 9:45 pm

"There does not appear to be a significant suicide issue with Palo Alto parochial school kids."

It's not a fair contest. There are no parochial high schools in Palo Alto. They haven't had their go at it yet.


Like this comment
Posted by Nameless
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 17, 2016 at 10:54 pm

Simplify, simplify.

And stop wasting time/energy on naming silliness ever again:

Grade School (GS): GS1, GS2, GS3, etc.
Middle School (MS): MS1, MS2, MS3
High School (HS): HS1, HS2


Like this comment
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 18, 2016 at 1:58 am

I'd tell the kid who thought Jordan would have had him sterilized that he needed to do more research. There were many sterilizations in California--but the focus was on sterilizing people who were institutionalized--particularly those classified as "mentally defective."

Though no one's provided a link that Jordan was involved with that element of eugenics--I've looked and asked more than once. There were a lot of different aspects to the eugenics movement--some pretty benign, others not.

Glad to see many posters want to focus on the problems we face in the district here and now. The atmosphere at the high schools is unhealthy--it's partly the mindless rigidity of the curriculum, but also, oddly enough, our insane housing prices--I think a lot of kids feel that they need to be exceptional to live up to the sacrifice their parents are making to live in the district.

By definition, most people are not exceptional.




1 person likes this
Posted by outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 18, 2016 at 3:38 am

Rename all the schools, each after trees. magnolia, sequoia, evergreen, cypress, redwood. Everyone likes trees right? Trees have no secrets or misdeeds in their past. ( I never have trusted loquat tress though-there is a certain evil about them...

Maybe we can call the the school "the school formally known as Jordan" and then give it a symbol like the Prince did.
Buy 10 sets of letters that say "formerly known as" and tack them on.

I am wondering why this has come up now after so many years. Is it a deliberate sidetrack? This information has been sitting around and is pretty accessible. How long did it take for schools and streets named after Hitler or Stalin to mostly go away. Were Nixon schools changed after his impeachment? I am sure Palo Alto is not the first to face this dilemma.


14 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 18, 2016 at 6:59 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@just Wondering
"Why can't this be used as a learning opportunity for our kids?

It definitely should be, but please make sure that you include a discussion of the importance of the racial and ethnic prejudice that underlay everything Jordan promoted for decades in his eugenicist pseudoscience, along with his promotion of sterilization to reduce the number of "undesirables" in American society. And show how strong the flow of intellectual and technical support for Germany's promotion of "racial hygiene" was from American to German eugenicists.


Like this comment
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 18, 2016 at 11:02 am

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 18, 2016 at 4:57 pm

This should be regarded as a learning experience for the children in the district. Each student should be required to fully research the person their school was named after--the good, the bad, and the ugly. However all names should be left as they are. Don't waste time renaming schools.
If you do research on all famous and revered people you will find something about each one that is less than ideal.
For example, when Clinton was president many harped on and on about his less than ideal activities. However, there was a time when people allowed others to have their privacy and such foibles would have been considered his wife's problem, not grounds for impeachment. Many other presidents had a similar problem.
I think that if you look deep enough you will find that every famous (and many others too) person had something to not be proud of.
Let's celebrate famous people for what made them famous and revered and leave the other things for deeper study.


6 people like this
Posted by Roger
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 18, 2016 at 8:46 pm

Honestly I can think of no better name for our school than David Starr Jordan.
Without this man and his influence there would be no Pa;lo Alto.
So if we rename the school, we must consider renaming our town, and for that matter everything associated with Stanford University.
In fact why not start up a petition to get Stanford University itself to move to some other thankless town.
This whole idea has many more complications than just dollars and cents.
To compare this man to Hitler is like comparing Jesus to lucifer.


20 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 19, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Sunshine

I appreciate the spirit in which you offered your proposal, but I don't believe it's how we should proceed. Your suggestion is that no matter what they discovered in their research these are the school's names in perpetuity.

Here's mine, to be done whether or not the name is changed. Use direct instruction to teach them the key elements of Jordan's resume--Stanford administrator, idealistic opponent of war at a time when many of the Western powers were itching for it, and enthusiastic life-long proponent of eugenicist pseudoscience to explain the differences in life circumstances among various groups. Then have the discussion of whether he merits having a public school named for him.

The school could decide whether to do this every year or actually move to a process where what the kids decided mattered.




7 people like this
Posted by JoAnn
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 19, 2016 at 4:39 pm

Things like schools get named after people admired at the time (at least by those doing the naming). If it becomes enough of an issue for later generations, they're free to change it. I like the idea of changing the Jordan to Michael or Barbara; then they don't have to redo the t-shirts. But it might not be so bad to think a little about people we admire now and want to make a statement about. Depends on how much fuss people want to make about it.


5 people like this
Posted by outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 20, 2016 at 7:46 am

roger-- Jesus was a friend of mine... Jordan was no Jesus; ) Haters should not be glorified and kids need to see that present day adults are willing to make it right. Money has been wasted on dumber things in this district for sure.

I like the idea of kids voting and almost everyone likes new designs on T shirts. How about just putting the word "not" on all the Jordan tshirts until they run out and then order new ones.


Like this comment
Posted by Roger
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 22, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Outsider:
I did not say Jordan was like "Jesus" I said the comparison to Hitler was similar. Hitler was responsible for millions of innocent deaths, Jordan absolutely none.
Since Jesus is your friend though, why don't you ask him what he thinks on the matter. I bet his response is totally different from yours.
Let him without sin , cast the first stone.


4 people like this
Posted by well....maybe one murder
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 22, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Actually....Jordan may have been part of the murder of Jane Stanford....

Web Link



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Posted by outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 23, 2016 at 7:50 am

roger: I was just being as absurd as you. HIs ideas are similar though and not ones that should represent the hopes and dreams of any new students going out into this world.


2 people like this
Posted by loven it
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 15, 2016 at 5:16 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by loven it
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 15, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Oh no. Not Gandhi and Mandela too. These racists must have their statues removed immediately and schools renamed. No one is safe. Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Larry Cohn
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2016 at 6:23 pm

"to be done whether or not the name is changed. Use direct instruction to teach them the key elements of Jordan's resume--Stanford administrator, idealistic opponent of war at a time when many of the Western powers were itching for it, and enthusiastic life-long proponent of eugenicist pseudoscience to explain the differences in life circumstances among various groups."

That's a good idea, but it won't stop Palo Altans from whining about it.


10 people like this
Posted by Roger that
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 15, 2016 at 7:43 pm

Roger
Last time I checked, Leland Stanford built Stanford university, not Jordan, the man whom you elevate to Palo Alto's godfather. Jordan was a hired gun, good at his job while fearfull of everyone not like him. He imported eugenics from Indiana and created a legacy so disgraceful, that both Palo Alto as well as Stanford would be well advised to follow in the footsteps of the California state legislature and express their "profound regret" and change the names as a sign of sincerity!


Like this comment
Posted by person
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 24, 2016 at 4:09 pm

why dont they just name it michael jordan middle school. Everyone at the school has a ton of JOrdan middle school gear and plus there is no where in the school that says david starr jordan. THis is so fricken stupid.


3 people like this
Posted by PAUSD Alum
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2016 at 1:14 pm

There may be some questionable elements in Jordan's past, but without Terman there would be no Silicon Valley as we know it. Does anyone have a link to a petition OPPOSING the change? Seems like the folks in favor of the change are getting a lot of time and column inches to air their grievances, which is all well and good, but is there an organization to oppose the change that we can support? I worry that there is a "silent majority" (sorry to use the term, but it is apt) opposing this, which is being drowned out by a few passionate voices.

Information on this is much appreciated.


2 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 25, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@PAUSD Alum

Try the Change.org website to start your own petition. If the "silent majority" is being crowded out, as you suspect, it would be entirely appropriate. I would welcome having a well-reasoned argument for retaining Jordan's name available to all in a source document like a petition as the debate goes forward.

Several people have written signed letters to the two local papers opposing any change. Perhaps you could contact them. Numerous posters have backed your position in Town Square, but apart from a handful who have used their names they are difficult to contact.

About the Terman name, the school was initially named after Fred Terman, who developed the IQ test, not his son Lewis, who was a Silicon Valley pioneer. When Terman M. S. was reopened following a period when the doors were closed due to declining enrollment in the district mention was made that it should be considered to honor both of them.


1 person likes this
Posted by Make Palo Alto great again
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 25, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Hi PAUSD alumn,

some good starting points for your 'keep the name' petition:

Web Link

Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by marilyn
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Jordan was not an idealistic opponent of war. If you read the books he wrote, he opposed war because he was a eugenicist - he thought too many of "the best" young white male Americans would be killed, diluting "the blood of the nation."


5 people like this
Posted by Gregory H.
a resident of another community
on Nov 27, 2016 at 5:24 pm

It's interesting that there is so much outrage a school being named after David Jordan. He was a peace activist in the years before WWI and he was the Stanford Univ. president during a critical period. It's true that he was an advocate for eugenics, but the move toward eugenics was never more powerful that IS TODAY in the United States. Social security offices and counties in California dole out almost unlimited resources for single moms and almost no resources for the homeless or single men. This is done with the idea the poor women will choose a man who is strong and fit to sire their children. Some inner city women even seek out sperm donations from math professors and other men that they think are good to have kids with. That is a Fact. The black communities have been destroyed by these programs beginning in the late 1950's. Crime has skyrocketed in these communities, and black men have served decades in prison. The corporate elite STILL count these programs as a success -- pointing to ever taller and stronger black athletes.


9 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 27, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Compared to our president-defect, Jordan was a choir boy, Boy Scout, and general all-around cherub. It's time to end this silly fetish over a long-defunct fad and prepare for major defensive action on real contemporary issues.


2 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 2, 2017 at 11:04 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Correction:

About the Terman name, the school was initially named after Fred Terman, who developed the IQ test, not his son Lewis, who was a Silicon Valley pioneer. When Terman M. S. was reopened following a period when the doors were closed due to declining enrollment in the district mention was made that it should be considered to honor both of them.

Should read:

About the Terman name, the school was initially named after LEWIS Terman, who developed the IQ test, not his son FRED, who was a Silicon Valley pioneer. When Terman M. S. was reopened following a period when the doors were closed due to declining enrollment in the district mention was made that it should be considered to honor both of them.


1 person likes this
Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 2, 2017 at 2:14 pm

In the early 1900's David Starr Jordan, President of Stanford University, was an honorary president of the California Equal Suffrage Association.

Source: Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 2, 2017 at 10:04 pm

"About the Terman name, the school was initially named after LEWIS Terman, who developed the IQ test, ..."

While Palo Alto frets over certain schools named after local luminaries who believed in deliberately improving the human genome by traditional selective breeding, there are children alive today who will fret because their genetically engineered eighth grade offspring at the renamed Jordan Middle School have been obsoleted by the new sixth graders whose embryos were assembled using the next generation of gene editing technology.

The irony, the irony.


2 people like this
Posted by outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 3, 2017 at 12:17 am

I still think they should just post the "school formally known as -----" on the signs and be done with it. Each school could have its own trademark and no name. Is this the longest lasting topic?


3 people like this
Posted by Ron Wolf
a resident of Ohlone School
on Jan 19, 2017 at 9:50 am

Perhaps just to put a drop of balance into these comments, I'm in favor of the name change recommendation and proud of the PA community in general for supporting this. The comments against changing the names seem to be mostly angry, sarcastic, & not well-reasoned basing their arguments mostly on "we've always done it that way" sort of logic. All the more reason to think that the names need to be changed. I have a personal contact to a PA man who was sterilized in the 40s for being 'deficient'. It is far past time to leave this disgusting and wrong-minded history behind us.

Regarding the cost issues, yes, these are a valid concern. I suggest that there could be creative ways to cover these costs.

As far as choosing new names, right the PA Process will be likely be excruciating. However there is not shortage of deserving & relevant folks to honor.

BTW, kudso to the Weekly for it's excellent coverage of this issue!


Like this comment
Posted by Stuart
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 19, 2017 at 11:47 am

Should we also include on the list of excluded gene editing researchers, which can lead to eugenics on steroids? Should we also include those who have promoted the extinguishing of human life, before it is born into our world, under the guise of 'choice'? Can we include people like Cesar Chavez, who opposed mechanization in the agricultural fields and caused so much unnecessary human suffering? Serial philanderers like JFK and MLK? Who, exactly, merits exclusion from the banned list?


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm

"... review not only Jordan Middle School's name but all schools in the Palo Alto school district."

Geez, what nefarious notion has the namesake of Palo Alto High School espoused?


2 people like this
Posted by Bonnie McKinnon
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 11, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Leave then names Palo Alto is losing all its history


1 person likes this
Posted by Leslie
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2017 at 6:11 am

I attended Jordan from 1967 to 1970. Whatever you do, please do not name it after someone who has no real connection to Palo Alto, Stanford or the community, such as Barbara Jordan, Michael Jordan, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, etc. Those names are politically correct but they have likely never set foot in Palo Alto.

Naming Terman for Frederick Terman fils rather than Lewis Terman père is a no-brainer. Even Steve Jobs is a dubious selection. Palo Alto was his bedroom community but did he have any other connection to the community?


1 person likes this
Posted by outisder
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2017 at 8:14 am

I still think putting a sticker that says" the school formerly know as" on each school and then a symbol would be lots of fun and cheaper than redoing all the signs. same on the tshirts.


2 people like this
Posted by Boaty MacBoatface
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2017 at 8:26 am

When you ask the public to choose a name, remember me!

Perhaps you could name the school, Schooly MacSchoolface! At least that would have no bad associations connected with it. Almost everything will cause disagreement and somebody will have something bad to say about any idea.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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